WASHINGTON: Repeated mass cancellations of flights of Southwest airlines amid ongoing winter storms has resulted in Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigeig to hold the airlines responsible for 'system failure'.
Pete Buttigieg, US Secretary of Transportation, stated on Wednesday that the degree of cancellations at Southwest cannot be justified by the terrible weather, despite the fact that a historic winter storm known as the "blizzard of the century" had blanketed the nation around the Christmas weekend, according to Al Jazeera.
"We are past the point where they could say this is a weather-driven issue," Buttigieg added in an interview with ABC News. "Don't get me wrong, all of this began with that severe storm. We saw winter weather affecting the country and severely disrupting all airlines." The administration of US President Joe Biden has called the meltdown that led to the cancellation of thousands of flights at Southwest Airlines a "system failure", blaming the company itself for the crisis.
Since Friday, Southwest has cancelled more than 14,500 flights, said Al Jazeera re-citing Reuters report. By early afternoon on Wednesday, 2,500 flights had been cancelled, according to the flight monitoring service FlightAware. The airline's CEO, Bob Jordan, apologised to clients and staff on Tuesday for the widespread cancellations.
"The tools we use to recover from disruption serve us well 99 per cent of the time," he said in a video message. "But clearly, we need to double down on our already existing plans to upgrade systems for these extreme circumstances so that we never again face what's happening right now," Al Jazeera reported.
Southwest Airlines reportedly launched an online portal this week to assist impacted passengers in applying for refunds and additional expenditures.